My opinion of The Leopard at des Artistes: If money is no object and you are looking for a fun evening out with solid food, good mixed drinks, and good service, go. If you’re budget conscious and expect a lot of bang for your buck or a wow factor, this might not be the spot for you.
I had dinner with my husband and adult daughter at The Leopard this past Saturday, following a matinee of Anything Goes (a dazzling production that truly clicks, highly recommend).
While there were no missteps with our dinner, it is not a place I would go back to unless it’s on someone else’s tab.
Food: The bread basket was filled with Italian bread, raisin pumpernickel and breadsticks, accompanied by olive oil. The breads were standard issue, but I really liked the thin and crunchy rosemary embedded breadsticks. A server brought an amuse from the chef – hot arancini with a melty cheese lentil center. This was my favorite bite of the night.
For apps, I had the eggplant and smoked buffalo mozzarella timbale ($14). The smoky flavor really came through. The tomato sauce was luscious. My husband and daughter tried it, neither liked it, said it was mushy. They split an order of the pasta special (cheese ravioli $28). Clearly fresh made, they each got three ravioli in a bright tomato basil sauce and said it was good. We decided to order the ribsteak for two ($90) and split it among the three of us. Since this was following our Thanksgiving feast and we're still picking on the leftovers, we didn’t want a lot of leftovers from this meal. We got them anyway. The steak was very large and would have fed one more guest easily. It was accompanied by a huge mound of fries, which were standard issue, I don’t think homemade. The steak was cooked medium rare as requested but there was nothing “wow” or “mmm” about it. I’ve had better at Peter Luger’s, Keen’s, Balthazar, and my own kitchen. We finished the meal with cappuccino and complimentary pistachio biscotti. Excellent, loved them.
Drinks: My daughter had a glass of white wine ($13) which she enjoyed. My husband was in a mojito state of mind and had two of them ($16 a pop). I had a sip and it was perfect! Wonderful muddled mint and refreshing lime and spritz.
Decor and Service: Loved the restored murals and the dining room. Our main server Adrian was very professional. While we were actively (and a bit loudly) discussing whether we should order an additional entrée with the steak, he asked gently if he could offer any further explanations, which really helped. Water was always refilled and when I returned from a visit to the ladies room, a fresh refolded napkin was at my plate. The steak was presented cooked whole and carved tableside. The large bone was put on its own plate in the center of the table. Adrian offered us fleur de sel for the meat and my daughter and I happily accepted and enjoyed it.
As I first stated, there were no missteps at all. But there was nothing really to draw me back here. My current favorite New York restaurants are Balthazar and Scarpetta. Every time we dine at them there is always something that makes me say wow or go yummm! Although The Leopard is in the same price range (in the case of pasta however, it’s even higher than Scarpetta) it just didn’t have the specialness I want from this pricepoint. Glad I went there once though.
Sorry these pictures are poor quality. I don't think my new iPhone has a flash: Bread basket, arancini amuse, ribsteak and rosemary fries, cheese ravioli, eggplant mozzarella timbale, our table near a mural.
80 Spring St, New York, NY 10012
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014
The Leopard at des Artistes
1 W 67th St, New York, NY 10023